Linking Growth Management & Climate Change

Rich Rodgers

The National Academy of Sciences published a report on September 1 called "Driving and the Built Environment: The Effects of Compact Development on Motorized Travel, Energy Use, and CO2 Emissions"Metro's own Andy Cotugno served on the study committee, which included many other nationally-recognized experts in the field.

The findings are important, but simple:  compact urban forms, with higher residential and employment density, can meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions. Therefore, the report recommends, we should promote policies that encourage effective compact development. They also say it won't be easy, especially in places with no regional government, and no tradition of guiding development under a broad, integrated framework.

In the Portland metro area, we've been in the trenches on growth management for over 30 years.  We've seen some amazing things happen as a result, including the recent miraculous spike in bicycle commuting, and the development of a rich civic infrastructure centered on neighborhoods, schools, cycling, parks, food, and other spin offs from our ongoing experiments in controlling our own destiny. These successes have gotten some modest attention.  We get our share of gold stars.

On a less joyous note, we've failed to adequately address the side effects of compact urban development--most notably in the strains put on neighborhoods that lack the streets, sidewalks, parks and schools to handle the growth, and the displacement of people from inner Portland neighborhoods by rising housing prices. Then there's Vancouver, our sprawling neighbor to the north, the growth management equivalent of leaving your the front door open while the furnace burns on.  They even want our money for a $4 billion, 12 lane bridge to sustain their appetite for more suburban development.

When it comes to climate change, most of the focus is on individual behavior, energy generation & distribution, and manufacturing standards like fuel economy.  The national discussion should also include a new perspective, one that acknowledges that states and local communities have a choice in figuring out how they grow, and that those choices really matter (as determined by real science). 

Every decision to extend roads and sewers onto farmland means more CO2.  Expanding a freeway, or building a new one, means more CO2.  Inadequate investment in transit and bicycle transportation infrastructure means more CO2.

Legislation to address climate change will be on center stage after health care reform makes its way to the President's desk, either late this year or early 2010.  Cap and trade is a likely approach, and we'll be hearing about Waxman-MarkeyBoxer-Kerry, Martin Feldstein and the proper limits and credits on CO2 emissions, along with a bunch of noise.  Oregon's congressional delegation ought to punch through the wall of sound, and help draft legislation that includes meaningful incentives for local governments and metropolitan areas to implement growth management policies that reduce CO2 emissions.

In my opinion, the vehicle ought to be the roughly $40 billion in federal highway funds that are distributed annually to localities.  Each metro area is required by the feds to put together a metropolitan planning organization to prioritize how to spend the money.  In the Portland metro area, the projects to be funded are put together by the 17-member Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, or JPACT, and then adopted by the Metro Council.  JPACT is where the real deals are cobbled together, between an assortment of local officials, key industry voices, a meaningful lobby for transit, and increasingly, cycling advocates.

It would be simple, from a policy standpoint, for Congress to add a provision to the methods for federal transportation funding that rewarded local governments for taking steps to curb CO2 emissions.  The politics would be the real hurdle, given the seriously powerful and entrenched interests--but these are exactly the kinds of changes that have to be made.  The incentives could be easily pegged to a cap-and-trade system for emissions credits, using objective data from ongoing scientific studies to establish the levels of reduction in CO2 emissions associated with various growth management efforts and results.

Rather than just give a city or county a big check at a press event, I would look at the experience of Portland's growth management efforts over the last 30 years, and recommend policies at the federal, state and local levels that dedicated the funds to actions that make growth management programs more effective.  In my view, that includes transit, bike lanes and pedestrian safety measures, but it should also include funding for the full range of infrastructure needed to accommodate increased residential and employment density. 

In practical terms, you'd have a transportation funding model that was more likely to pay for sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks and transit in under-served and overcrowded neighborhoods, and less likely to pay for a 12 lane bridge to Vancouver.  From the standpoint of reducing CO2 and other harmful side effects of the internal combustion engine, this is what we want.  Moreover, I think it's clear from our experience in Portland that the benefits of growth management go well beyond reducing our carbon footprint.

Such a measure would add some real incremental improvements in the effort to control carbon emissions. Given what scentists are telling us about the impending effects of climate change, and what it will take to forestall it, we ought to look at every opportunity.

Comments

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    There has been atmospheric cooling the last 8 years, and no new high global annual temperatures in the last 11 years.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2001.5/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/offset:-0.15/plot/gistemp/from:1998/offset:-0.24/plot/uah/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998

    None of the computer models can replicate this fact. Anthropogenic (or man caused) global warming is not proved.

    The global warming adherents base their argument of proof on more than 20 different computer models called general circulation models (also known as global climate models or GCMs). Each computer model is composed of dozens of mathematical equations representing known scientific laws, theories, and hypotheses. Each equation has one or more constants. The constants associated with known laws are very well defined. The constants associated with known theories are generally accepted but probably some of them may be off by a factor of 2 or more, maybe even an order of magnitude. The equations representing hypotheses, well, sometimes the hypotheses are just plain wrong. Then each of these equations has to be weighted against each other for use in the computer models, so that adds an additional variable (basically an educated guess) for each law, theory, and hypothesis. This is where the models are tweaked to mimic past climate measurements.

    The SCIENTIFIC METHOD is: (1) Following years of academic study of the known physical laws and accepted theories, and after reviewing some data, come up with a hypothesis to explain the data. (2) Develop a plan to obtain and analyze new data. (3) Collect and analyze the data, this may even require new technology not previously available. (4) Determine if the hypothesis is correct, needs refinement, or is wrong. Either way, new data is available for other researchers. (5) Submit results, including data, for peer review and publication.

    The output of the computer models run out nearly 90 years forward is considered to be data, but it is not a measurement of a physical phenomenon. Also, there is no way to analyze this so called data to determine if any or which of the hypotheses in the models are correct, need refinement, or are wrong. Also, this method cannot indicate if other new hypotheses need to be generated and incorporated into the models. IT JUST IS NOT THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

    The worst flaw in the AGW argument is the treatment of GCM computer generated outputs as data. They then use it in follow on hypotheses. For example, if temperature rises by X degrees in 50 years, then Y will be effected in such-and-such a way resulting in Z. Then the next person comes along and says, well, if Z happens, the effect on W will be a catastrophe. “I need (and deserve) more money to study the effects on W.” Hypotheses, stacked on hypotheses, stacked on more hypotheses, all based on computer outputs that are not data, using a process that does not lend to proof using the SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Look at their results, IF, MIGHT, and COULD are used throughout their news making results. And when one of the underlying hypotheses is proven incorrect, well, the public only remembers the doomsday results 2 or three iterations down the hypotheses train. The hypotheses downstream are not automatically thrown out and can even be used for more follow on hypotheses.

    You may find it interesting what the head of the IPCC said more than 1-1/2 years ago concerning the lack of new annual high global temperatures:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1171501720080111

    Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, said (more than 1-1/2 years ago) that he would look into the apparent temperature plateau so far this century. "One would really have to see on the basis of some analysis what this really represents," he told Reuters, adding "are there natural factors compensating?" for increases in greenhouse gases from human activities.

    Also in this article from more than 1-1/2 years ago, Amir Delju, senior scientific coordinator of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) climate program, said temperatures would have to be flat for several more years before a lack of new record years became significant.

    We are now more than three quarters of the way to having significant doubts about the GCMs, according to Amir Delju's own criterion. Which hypotheses in the models need adjustment? Which hypotheses need to be rejected? What new hypotheses (like Svensmark's solar-GCR-cloud hypothesis shown here: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1180849) need to be embraced and incorporated into the models?

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Anthropogenic (or man caused) global warming is not proved.

    But it is the religion of the left

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
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    Actually global warming denial is just one facet of the Great Right Wing Meltdown of the first decade of the 21st century.

    I think all the compact urban form talk is ignoring one big possibility - electric cars that don't add carbon dioxide to the air. It might take a couple of decades, but my prediction is that by 2040 electric cars will be as ubiquitous then as gasoline-powered cars are now.

    And when transportation is once again cheap, people will vote with their feet for the suburbs, and they have been doing for the past 150 years.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Hey NucE - nice cut 'n paste from Quinn's Instablog.

    Word for freakin' word.

    You wouldn't happen to have an independent thought you might want to share with us? I mean I imagine James Quinn is a fine financial planner and all - it's just I wouldn't really rely on his site for deep critical analysis on, ya know, science stuff.

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    Scott,

    I do not know who Quinn is, but I am the original author of this post, NucEngineer, aka Gary in Seabeck, aka Gary Plyler.

    I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Nuclear Engineering.

    I wrote it, I use it where I want, from my word file.

    Now, do you have any substantive rebuttal to my post? Thought not.

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    Urban Planning Overloard said: "...electric cars that don't add carbon dioxide to the air. It might take a couple of decades, but my prediction is that by 2040 electric cars will be as ubiquitous then as gasoline-powered cars are now."

    OK. But I hope you realize that the wall outlet in your garage does not magically produce electricity. An what about the chemical toxic wastes that are a byproduct of battery manufacture, maintenance, and recycling? Same goes for photo-voltaic cells.

    And then there are the birds and bats killed by 30-meter long winmill blades, The large amounts of land surface ecology displaced by solar collectors, on and on and, yes on.

    I am reminded of the OTEC system of 35 years ago. This system was to use the thermal gradient between the ocean surface and the water 40 meters below the surface. The heat exchangers kept getting fouled by marine growth. But even barring that little (actually big) problem, it was determined that the amount of electricity the system could produce over 30-years would just about equal the amount of energy required to mine, refine, manufacture, assemble, and maintain the unit.

    Wow. That is the problem with difuse sources of energy like wind, solar, ocean thermal gradients, etc.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    .... and a background in Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering make you the defacto expert on climate change because....?

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    Again Scott, Any substantive rebuttal, or just ad hominem? My first post still stands, doesn't it.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    Great post comrade Rodgers. For a white guy, you seem to speak the truth, however I am cautiously optimistic.

    I'd like to see Obama use Eminent domain to seize property in rural areas and force people into cities. Their homes would then be demolished and the land returned to it's pristine natural condition. Small towns across Amerika could be shut-down and eliminated. The residents could then be bused to cities and given apartments, government healthcare, and a bicycle. Also provided would be a picture of the messiah, Obama, to be hung on a wall.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    "Scott in Damascus"

    Maybe you should move into a larger city, like Portland. There, you would be more likely to reduce your CO2 emissions. These small towns in Amerika must be shut-down, or we'll all likely die from Global Warming. Do your part Scott - move out of Damascus.

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    Nuke, you're too cute by half to suggest that the standard for action is a proof. This isn't math, and you know damn well that no one has a proven theory for describing the effects of an incredibly huge non-linear system like the Earth's climate. All we have are hypotheses, subject to as much critical review as is possible.

    Furthermore, what scientist would demand a proof before action, when confronted with the possibility of severe disruptions to our way of life and the survival of untold species? Especially when the possibility has the overwhelming credence of the scientific community? And finally, do you allow for the possibility that the models you critique are just as subject to underestimating warming as the are to overestimate it?

    Climate science suggesting an anthropogenic role is hardly a new field, or one shrouded in secrecy. Hypotheses have been developed and rejected, exposed to peer review, and hardened by supporting data. I find it ridiculous that as a self-described scientist you would laugh off the professional contributions of countless scientists in the development of the current state of knowledge.

    Your tack reveals, to me, not adherence to scientific method, but reflexive distrust of institutions, even when those institutions are run by scientists.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Jerry:

    The whole office in d/t Portland is available to all employees from home. Most of us only go in 2-3 times per week.

    Traded in the SUV for a BMW - net increase in mpg = 10

    Solar water heater installed at home - check.

    100% renewable energy from PGE - check.

    I'm sorry Jerry, you were saying?

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    Jerry, you sound like a totalitarian, an advocate of a bankrupt philosophy. Fortunately for the rest of us, there is no chance that this center-right country would allow a madman like you to seize power.

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    Rich Rogers, Yes, I do expect provable theories before we place trillions of dollars of our economy (no, our childrens future economy) down the tube for carbon credits. The old argument "but if we do all this and are wrong, great, at least we cleaned up the environment" is not going to create prosperity which is required BEFORE you spread the wealth around. Especially since CO2 is not an environmental toxin, a poison, or any such thing. Lead batteries, mercury lightbulbs, those are toxic.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    "Traded in the SUV for a BMW - net increase in mpg = 10" Scott in Damascus

    ROFL! I bet your Beamer fits right in with all the rednecks in Damascus. You got a gun rack in your BMW? HAHAHA.

    Why don't your trade your beamer in for a bike? You could then use the balance of the money to help some homeless person.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    "Fortunately for the rest of us, there is no chance that this center-right country ..."

    Comrade Rodgers, that's pricisely the problem. Amerika is center-right, when it should be LEFT. Do you really think we're going to save this planet from Global Warming without a complete shift to the LEFT? Be honest here.

  • NucEngineer (unverified)
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    In my original post, I listened to the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, and the head of the UNs WMO, Amir Delju. Are they good sources of scientific opinion? You seem to think so. So does what they said more than one and a half years ago about the lack of new annual global high temperatures since 1998 valid?

    OOps, I guess not. Those pesky scientists said that the computer models need to be reassesed if no new global high temperatures occur. OOps, they haven't occured. Where is the review? Your trust is misplaced.

  • Rick (unverified)
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    Rich,

    Sorry, but statements like "overwhelming credence of the scientific community" and "countless scientists" are not accurate. There are as many, if not more scientists who, if the motivation for government funding is a disqualifier, come down on the side of climate change NOT being an issue. Many of those saying this is a problem are poised to make lots of money from providing solutions, or opinion, or study of this thing. Al Gore is an incredible example, but certainly not the only one.

    So much science is ignored by those who espouse this belief of man causing climate change that it seriously damages the credibility of those scientists. And to deny the opposing side is irresponsible. Worse yet is to preach billions of dollars of investment to change our energy systems without being willing to debate the issue.

    Can you hold off long enough to actually examine this? Remember, it was Time magazine, I believe, in the 1970's that had a cover story of the coming ice age. News like this sells magazines, sure. But it also creates labs, and research grants, and many, if not millions of dollars (Mr Gore) for those who create this issue out of small samplings.

    Science isn't overwhelming at all. Not at all. Do I want the truth? Yes. Do I want to spend trillions of dollars to fight this as yet unfounded hypothesis? No.

    You know the facts that don't support you, I hope. And you know that three things need to be true to support your proposals.

    One, the earth's climate must be changing substantially (more than ever before). Two, it must be man-caused change. And three, it must be catastrophic to life on this planet. If any ONE of these three isn't true, then the issue doesn't exist.

    Man shouldn't fix what is happening naturally. If man isn't causing the change, then man changing his actions cannot correct the change. And if it is warming, or cooling, but it isn't catastrophic, then what should we care?

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    Nuke, your ideological biases are showing, or at least a shaky grasp of economics. The money doesn't go 'down the tube' (to Ted Stevens' email?), it pays people who have curbed emissions. That money employs people, and leads to both research and action to improve the efficiency of our economy.

    We may find that it's far too expensive, for example, to spend over $1 trillion and many lives to ensure that we have some measure of control over the oil of the Persian Gulf. Of course, the subsidy for that is buried in our income taxes, not what we pay for gas.

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    Rick, that is a very thoughtful critique. I disagree with your assumptions about the proportions of scientists' beliefs on the subject, nor do I think that so many scientists would let their conclusions be driven by money.

    Plenty of people, including me, are willing to debate the issue, and in fact, we are.

    'More than ever before' cannot be the standard for the amount of change that warrants action to curb anthropogenic warming, nor do I think that 'catastrophic to life' is the standard. Though I suppose a lot there depends on your definition of catastrophic. If the headwaters of the rivers feeding South Asia were to dry up owing to melting, I would consider that catastrophic to life.

    I think the review of the science has been plenty rigorous. We don't know everything, just as we don't know how to fill the gaps in Einstein's theories.

    At some point, we just won't persuade each other. My brother-in-law thinks that Michael Crichton is the final authority on this, and I know that he's nuts.

    We had an election for President in which both candidates said that addressing climate change is a high priority. The guy who wanted to do more won.

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    Rich, thank you for a very thoughtful and well-written post.

    You've discovered one of the problems on the net: it's impossible to write about creative solutions to the climate challenge without getting bogged down by trolls that deny the premise. And while that discussion can sometimes be interesting, it's frustrating to be unable even to move the discussion forward. We've had dozens of posts here about the climate change premise. This post is about solutions, and should be conducted amongst those who agree with the premise.

    Future comments on this post that deny climate change - as worthy as they may be - will be considered off-topic and will be removed. This is a place to discuss Rich's policy proposal, not debate climate change.

  • jamie (unverified)
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    Apparently you have not yet heard that the most important basis of the IPCC claims of global warming was just shown to be a fraud.

    Seems some government "scientists" in England choose a small subset of the tree ring data to prove rapid warming where non existed in the full data set. This cherry picked data appeared in at least 10 peer reviewed papers. As usual, in this field, peer review didn’t bother to check the data.

    They managed to hide this for many years because Science & Nature, the two top peer reviewed journals, do not enforce their data publication policies.

    See: wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/27/quote-of-the-week-20-ding-dong-the-stick-is-dead/

    So you can now rest easy. The climate is not careening out of control. There is no reason for modern society to be dismantled. There is no reason to double energy costs so that poor people will use less. There is no reason to herd people into mass transit. There is no reason to herd people in to condo bunkers. There is no reason to waste tax money building “green” buildings — it was all based on fraudulent “science”.

    Unfortunately, you now have to find another fallacy to scare people with. And another fallacy to use to control people’s lives.

    Thanks JK

  • Rich Rodgers (unverified)
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    Hey Kari, I appreciate the attempt to focus the conversation. I'm not hopeful, but thanks.

    Wrapping your world view around an iconoclastic mooring is as American as apple pie. In the past, scientists were the friends of the distrustful, who feared the intrusion of politics on inappropriate grounds. It's a force I want included in American political debate, as my experience tells me that people with good ideas, even brilliant ones, get rejected early and often. I'd rather receive an unconventional thinker and go do friendly battle, to learn and remain open to new ideas.

    So much of the bitterness engendered by frustration can be laid at the feet of tactics. It's good for us to embrace creative and challenging thinkers. When they're interesting, our challenge is to recognize it. When they ae reflexive and belligerent, it's time to hit the bricks.

    I think these guys (they mostly seem to be guys, in the 40-60 range) are primarily trying to work around an emotional wound of feeling rejected in their attempts to contribute. I want to respect them as people trying to make a difference, at the same time that I'm inclined to deliver the knockout blow when these guys get stupid.

  • Richard (unverified)
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    Kari,

    You just don't get it do you.

    The "premise" IS complete BS.

    That matters.

    And this "troll" thing is useless.

    Despite the left's dreamy ideas about all their causes hitching a ride on AGW the climate crisis is a worsening fraud.

    How is it that you blues are so deliberate in avoiding the full spectrum of science as it unfolds?

    Your willingness to cling to what is clearly a farce has you looking utterly foolish.

    Locally the Portland story is nearly as fabricated with all of the tax subsidized development schemes which have failed being left out of the story.

    Any blip in bicycle use means very little in the greater land use and transportation picture. The hype is hype.

    Metro, et al, can and has made up tall tale after tall tale for self promotion and to obscure the trail of failures around the region.

    The pretending by liberals that we're a model for the nation is contemptible.

    On the East Side, MAX failed to spur the development still beng promised will happen with new lines. Millions of additional tax dollars are being thrown at Rockwood in hopes of altering the crime and blight along the MAX line.

    Gateway didn't turn out as promised with MAX. Airport MAX and million in UR delivered the very auto oriented BIG BOX strip mall

    it was intended to prohibit.

    West Side same story. The Beaverton Round/Max station (transit oriented development) has been a collosal failure.

    Hillsboro same story along MAX with market rate housing cancelled in favore of parking garages. And now a massive urban renewal scheme is being hatched in hopes of spurring what MAX and TODs have not.

    This is the tip of the planner's fallacies around here.

    There are many other examples from the neighborhood infill failures to SoWa to North Interstate where massive public sums have NOT benefited as promised or claimed.

    So where's all of the success to be repeated? The bike use? What does Milwaukie hope to replicate with it's upcoming MAX line?

    There's been no CO2 reduction and it's meaningless nonsense anyway.

    So get to it and have your Democrats running everything pass cap and trade/carbon tax policies.

    And ramp up the massive public subsidies for transit oriented development and rail transit like the nex $47 million heading to SoWa or the $250 milion in lottery dollars going to MIlwaikie light rail.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Scott in Damascus wrote: ...it's just I wouldn't really rely on his site for deep critical analysis on, ya know, science stuff.

    So Mr Scott in Damascus, we should, ya know, rely on Blue Oregon as the authoritative source for that like really icky science stuff?

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    "So Mr Scott in Damascus, we should, ya know, rely on Blue Oregon as the authoritative source for that like really icky science stuff?"

    No, I rely on Blue Oregon as a source for the exchange of progressive ideas such as reducing one's carbon footprint. Take away the whole "denier" aspect of this thread and ask yourself why you feel reducing pollution is such a bad thing?

    Ignoring the science for one minute (which isn't a stretch for you), I want to trade in my 100-year-old gasoline technology car for an all electric vehicle for driving less than 100 miles a day. Unfortunately America hires lawyers while Japan hires engineers. To put it in simplier terms for you - if it was up to you, we would all still be listening to 8-track tapes.

  • Ryan H. (unverified)
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    One more thing, for a discussion of where all these bogus theories are coming from, read these two articles:

    The Truth About Denial: http://www.newsweek.com/id/32482

    The Climate Change Smokescreen: http://www.smh.com.au/news/global-warming/the-climate-change-smokescreen/2008/08/01/1217097533885.html

  • Richard (unverified)
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    Ryan H

    You should pay more attention to the science stacking up against AGW instead of the campaign to repell it.

    Your reads have nothing but the convenient embellishment of the consensus side and misrpresentations of the skeptics work as industry funded misinformation campaigns. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The consensus and AGW is collapsing. www.wattsupwiththat.com details the collapse.

    The skeptics side is NOT as you and Newsweek want to view it at all. It's where the honest science is conducted while Hansen and company continue to perpetrate fraud with taxpayer money and institutions. The CYA mode is starting to kick in as nothing is cooperating with the AGW propoganda. Not the climate, not the science, not the historical record and certainly not the public.

    Industry denialist misinformation is not to blame.

    But I am not here trying to convince you. Rather I prefer to paint the AGW movement as the left wing Democrat driven fraud it is. So as it collapses and the public gets fully up to speed they'll know who to punish.

    So own your global warming hoax.

  • Rick (unverified)
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    And Scott, the idea that CO2 is a pollutant is completely fabricated. Remember the way this works? Animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out CO2. Plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen.

    The only reason that some scientists are claiming it's a pollutant is because it will support AGW. You eliminate that "pollutant" and there will truly be a crisis. When you are measuring man-made CO2 in parts per million and man made CO2 is .117% of the greenhouse effect, then this isn't an issue.

    " There is no dispute at all about the fact that even if punctiliously observed, (the Kyoto Protocol) would have an imperceptible effect on future temperatures -- one-twentieth of a degree by 2050. "

    Dr. S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service; in a Sept. 10, 2001 Letter to Editor, Wall Street Journal

    Although I'm not sure why we are arguing it at all. Time spent chasing non-existent bogeymen is time wasted. And I am happy to let anyone do any research they want. Just don't foist your "science" on me, or my taxes. Spend your own time and money. Time will tell.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Scott, here is the fallacy behing all electric or battery operated cars:

    The power is still produced by burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, oil or natural gas.

    The leftist environmentalists are pulling out the hydro-electric capacity in PNW.

    The carbon footprint expended producing a new vehicle is about 8 TONS. The carbon footprint in operating a clunker is about 800 lbs/yr.

    The toxic byproducts associated with batteries have been calculated, yet nobody yet has a real plan on adequate handling of these when they are no longer in use.

    But hey Scott, go ahead and pay upwards of $20k - $40k for some new fangled electric auto. Me, I'll continue to pay under $3k occasionally for a good used commuter vehicle for my under 100 miles/day. That would be recycling which used to be good for the environment.

  • Mara Gross (unverified)
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    Rich, I'm sorry too to see this thread get hijacked, because the issues you raise are really important.

    In the Portland area, Metro did a study last year of what the impact would be of focusing transportation investments on transit, management, connectivity, or throughways. What they found was that NONE of their scenarios would reduce GHG, though focusing on transit increased it the least.

    The upshot: we need to get even more ambitious to address global warming. We need to invest heavily in transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and to design our towns and cities so people don't need to drive as much to meet their daily needs.

    I've been looking at the projects that have been selected for inclusion in the Portland Metro area's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), the plan for how we spend $20 Billion of those federal dollars and others over the next 25 years. What I'm seeing is that the lists of projects that the jurisdictions in the Metro area want to build are still way too focused on road building, which will increase driving and greenhouse gases, and lead to other negative health and community impacts that undermine regional goals.

    Metro is taking public comment through October 15 on the Regional Transportation Plan as well as on land use decisions on Urban and Rural Reserves. 1000 Friends of Oregon has excellent information about the Reserves issues.

    To quote 1000 Friends, we need to "protect the working farms that are vital to the region’s agricultural economy and are threatened by urbanization, and to protect those natural areas that define our sense of place. Urban reserves should be small to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, reinforce neighborhoods, and make efficient use of existing infrastructure."

    Also, Congress will be working on reauthorizing the big transportation bill in the coming months, and that's an important place to weigh in for good transportation planning. Nationally, Transportation for America and Transportation Equity Network, among others, are doing good work on this. Also, Policylink, a national think tank and action center, has published a great piece called The Transportation Prescription, which lays out the kind of transportation system we need to support the health and well being of everyone in our communities.

  • jamie (unverified)
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    Mara Gross: In the Portland area, Metro did a study last year of what the impact would be of focusing transportation investments on transit, management, connectivity, or throughways. What they found was that NONE of their scenarios would reduce GHG, though focusing on transit increased it the least. JK: Why would focusing on transit reduce GHG?

    Transit DOES NOT USE LESS ENERGY than small cars.

    Did they even consider just giving away small cars to get the average MPG up?

    Did they even consider that even big city bus system buses uses more energy than the average USA car? See: portlandfacts.com/top10bus.html

    Did they consider that even light rail uses almost as much energy as an average car and more than many smaller cars?

    Thanks JK

  • Ryan H. (unverified)
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    All of the bogus denial theories referred to, including:

    1) warming stopped in 1998 2) we can't trust computer models 3) cosmic rays may be the cause 4) many scientist dispute global warming 5) the hockey stick graph has been proven wrong

    and all the other bogus theories, are refuted at this web site...for those interested (just follow the topic links):

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Space lasers track ice sheet thinning

    The researchers say such "dynamic thinning" of glaciers now reaches all latitudes in Greenland, has intensified on key Antarctic coastlines, is penetrating far into the ice sheets' interior and is spreading as ice shelves thin by ocean-driven melt.

    NucEngineer makes the mind-numbingly stupid argument that we should not take action based on predictions generated by mathematical models. Since data from the future is unattainable until we perfect time travel, this would guarantee that no action is ever taken to deal with an expected problem.

  • Richard (unverified)
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    Yeah Ok Ryan H.,

    There you go. All the rhetoric to avoid reality you would ever want.

    Stay clear of the wattsupwiththat.com science though. You'll discover how foolish the AGW movement is.

  • Richard (unverified)
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    The basis for nearly all of the global waring scare blew up this week.

    You blues have missed and avoided the truth too long.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2009/9/29/the-yamal-implosion.html

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    There's an assessment of this report published by MIT's Technology Review which is headlined:
    "Forget curbing urban sprawl: building denser cities would do little reduce CO2 emissions."

    It might not be everything you think it is.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Yet another nail in the coffin for AGW alarmists.

    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091001/OPINION/910010322p

    Up to 2 decades of cooling after 11 years of relative temperature stability. Oops.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    The arguments against CO2 regulation above are a good example of Republican/fundamentalist extremism. Because CO2 is needed for photosynthesis, it is a good thing. Therefore, it cannot be a pollutant, which is a bad thing. All is black or white for these folks - good or evil.

    Those of us who prefer reality-based decision making to fairy tale simplicity realize that most matters come down to balance and appropriateness. CO2 is great for aiding plant photosynthesis, but too high a concentration will suffocate animals quite efficiently. There is a feedback influenced cycle of CO2 involving plants, animals, the oceans, and geologic activity that has helped produce the life-supporting moderate climate earth has recently experienced. It is human activity that is throwing this out of balance [at least, that is the consensus of scientists trained in climate science, a consensus conveniently denied by climate change deniers]. It is therefore not only reasonable, but imperative that human release of CO2 is controlled in order to prevent or, at least, mitigate the significant damage climate change will cause. Indeed, even if climate change were completely naturally caused, it would make sense to take steps to mitigate it, given some plausible mechanism for doing so.

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    Oregon/BO different than the rest of the country? "Linking Growth Management & Climate Change", 39 responses, and not one word on population control".

    What a travesty!

  • jamie (unverified)
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    Ryan H. All of the bogus denial theories referred to, including:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html

    jk:Yeah, the new editor there is in the tank for the warmers. The previous editor was a realist and didn't buy that crap for a minute.

    Why don't you start with telling us what the evidence is that proves that CO2 can actually cause dangerous warming. Be sure none of your sources rely on the recently discredited Briffa papers or those sections of the IPCC report that rely on his cherry picked data.

    You might also want to tell us why none of the proxies, except tree rings, show modern warming to be anything other than recovery from the little ice age.

    As an expert, I'm sure you can pass the climate quiz at at SustainableOregon.com.

    Thanks JK

  • jamie (unverified)
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    Jake Leander CO2 is great for aiding plant photosynthesis, but too high a concentration will suffocate animals quite efficiently. J: At what, 100 times today’s levels?

    Jake Leander It is human activity that is throwing this out of balance [at least, that is the consensus of scientists trained in climate science, a consensus conveniently denied by climate change deniers]. J: Got any proof of that? The only claims I have seen were from Naomi Oaskes and were misrepresented in the original paper.

    Jake Leander It is therefore not only reasonable, but imperative that human release of CO2 is controlled in order to prevent or, at least, mitigate the significant damage climate change will cause. J: Got any proof that CO2 can actually cause damaging climate change?

    Jake Leander Indeed, even if climate change were completely naturally caused, it would make sense to take steps to mitigate it, given some plausible mechanism for doing so. J: Surely you’re joking. A warmer climate means a longer growing season with lower food prices. Why don’t you quit worrying about climate, at least, until the last of those Viking settlements come out from under the ice.

    J

  • rogerisrightMD (unverified)
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    <h2>6" of Global Warming fell on the city of Bend Oregon last night ...</h2>

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